Saturday, January 22, 2005

Word lab #1

"The Word Lab" by Nicholas Lemann was published in The New Yorker 16 October, 2000. Here's an excerpt:
You could be forgiven for supposing that somewhere in the country (a refitted underground missile silo on the Great Plains?) each party maintains a secret Word Lab. There purposeful young people in gray uniforms sit in front of computer screens, trying out different linguistic combinations. When a magic grouping of words is achieved, bells ring, lights flash, the purposeful young people give each other high fives, and then a directive goes out to all the party's thousands of candidates: it's not "affirmative action" anymore; it's "preferences."
So we were brainstorming for a few minutes.

How about a hog lagoon?

My son proposed elixirs, the disgusting gag-inducing pharmaceutical concoctions he had to force down his throat for months.

Or how about cookie? Coined to make the idea of having companies insert their spying software on our computers seem wholesome.

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